Toy Boy Toyota
‘He’s my toy boy, toy boy. I’m out with my toy boy, toy boy. And when I get to take him home, I know he’s gonna love me right’
Now don’t worry, I’ve not lost the plot. I was fortunate one week in February to be given the keys to Toyota GB’s Mk1 MR2. It came with Toyota’s state of the art cassette player and I found a mixtape with Sinitta’s hit ‘Toy Boy’ and if ever there was a song that suited a car, it was this.
It all started after I contacted Graham from Toyota press about a future article I was planning to write about the MR2 Vs Fiat X1/9. He suggested I come over, collect the car and take it to an event Toyota GB had organised at Silverstone with the Vintage Sports-Car Club (VSCC) called the Parallel Pomeroy Trophy. It dates back 70 years and was devised to find the best GT car. For Toyota, it consisted of 4 tests. I couldn’t really say no now could I.
All that was needed was to collect the car and pay the £30 entry fee that was going towards Toyota’s chosen charity for the past couple of years, Guide Dogs for the Blind. Toyota has been sponsoring the training of 4 dogs and lifetime costs of one. That’s around £55,000. https://www.guidedogs.org.uk
The MR2 was collected and a look around some of the heritage fleet Toyota keep was shown. The MR2 was a lovely little car and had undergone an extensive restoration that also came with some words of advise about being sympathetic to the newly built engine. So no pressure there then considering the weekend Toyota had planned!
Tests centred around a slalom handling course, flat out short distance and a series of forward-backward-forward etc strip where you had to stop within the boundaries of some pre-set cones. Penalties were issued if you messed it up. Suffice to say, I did. Twice! Annoyingly.
In total, there were 38 Toyota’s ranging from a 1971 Corolla coupe to the 2018 Yaris GRNM with everything in-between included 4 generations of Prius and a Hilux. All this was made even more serious when we were issued with number decals to apply to our cars. All road going cars (the rules stated that ALL entrants must be road legal) were instantly turned into race cars. Applying numbers to a car just makes them racy. The MR2 had sharp looks, an engine making borborygmi noises behind you and sporting potential to start with. The immaculate 1973 Crown estate however didn’t.
That said, it didn’t stop Eddie Bellringer beating me and the MR2. His times showed commitment at EVERY level. If I’m honest, I got beaten by practically everything out there including Steve Cropley from Autocar magazine in an Mk1 Prius. That said, Alan Bradley from the Motoring Podcast, in his Yaris GRMN, also got beaten by the Crown Estate.
This was the first Parallel Pomeroy event PR and social media manager, Scott Brownlee and his team had organised and it went very well, even down to the weather. There was however only two Toyota PR team members taking it for the team. Product and technical, Mr Richard Seymour in an iQ and PR student, Mary Nicholls in a Prius. She also beat me in a Prius.
Well, let’s not leave you in suspense. Richard in the iQ won. The smallest car with the smallest engine with the impossibility of positioning a car with a cone within the wheelbase won the event. Which went to show that Richard of product and technical either knew his stuff and the iQ or it was a fix? Either way, it’s a long way to fall when you are at the top, I’m wondering what Toyota could put him in next time.
An MR2 perhaps?
As for me, it was a blast and a really good day was had by all those who attended. So it is with great thanks to the Toyota GB team for letting me have the MR2 for a few days prior to the event.
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